He said if someone comes forward and admits to have committed a crime and has to “do recompense,” as Republicans have proposed to require of immigrants who are currently illegally here, then the word would not apply.
When asked whether they supported comprehensive reform or a piecemeal approach, all the panelists agreed to a certain extent that immigration reform should be implemented gradually.
Morgan, however, said Republicans should not even be focusing on immigration reform until President Obama shows that he will uphold the law.
“I respectfully disagree with the policy of legalization with or without citizenship,” he said.
Instead, Morgan said he favored a piecemeal approach, starting with the less controversial pieces and making sure they are enforced.
He noted that the Obama administration has chosen not to enforce certain sections of some laws in the past, including several parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Why would you expect [this administration] to enforce any new laws?” he said.
Morgan said that because amnesty is an unpopular issue it would have to pass along with other provisions, such as border security and workplace enforcement.
The panel attracted criticism from Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith, who issued a statement attacking the American Conservative Union – CPAC’s top organizer – for including speakers that support the same agenda as Democrats on immigration.
“You have to wonder when a self-described conservative organization stacks an immigration panel with amnesty advocates,” Smith said in a statement. “For the second year in a row, CPAC has featured a panel where all but one speaker supports the agenda of liberal Democrats and the liberal national media.”